HOUSTON – It didn’t start out as the greatest day for Sarah Higgins, but she found a way to end it in a huge way.
She got hit by a pitch her first time up and then struck out twice before coming up to the plate with two outs in the seventh inning, and the bases loaded. Higgins, a freshman, singled to drive in two runs which proved to be the winning margin in a 5-3 decision against Houston.
Brittany Elmore singled, Destinee Brewer walked and Abby Fenichel was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the seventh. Elmore and Brewer scored on the single by Higgins.
“Sarah has come through for us all season long, especially the last two or three weeks she has been a model of consistency for us, “Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman said. “It is rare for her to have back-to-back strikeouts.
“She stayed sharp and focused when she went back up there for her last at bat which is really important for a freshman. She stayed the course and went back up there. To see her have a game where she struggled but continued to fight and get better was really cool.”
Sunday afternoon at Cougar Stadium the Lady Bisons salvaged the third game of the series after losing a doubleheader Saturday. Lipscomb is 12-12. Houston is 11-11.
Houston opened with two runs in the first inning off of Lipscomb starter Mandy Jordan.
Baylee Williams responded in the bottom of the first with a two-run homer, her first of the season, over the center field fence.
“Baylee had a slow start to the season and she knew it, but she felt like she would work her way out of it,” Ryman said. “We saw her start to come on about two weeks ago.
“She has been putting the ball in play hard. I made a comment Saturday that I thought Baylee was about to break through and get that first home run of the season at some point. That home run gave us a lot of life. We got in a hole early, but we did come back from it.”
Lipscomb took a one-run lead in the third as Fenichel singled up the middle to score Kasey Gibson who had opened the inning with a single.
Houston tied the game with one run in the bottom of the third on an RBI-single down the left field line.
The Lady Bisons finished with six hits. Fenichel led with two.
Jordan went one inning. She allowed four hits and two runs, one earned. She walked three, hit one batter and struck out one.
Tanner Sanders, 6-6, picked up the win. In six innings she gave up a three hits and one run. She walked three, hit two batters and struck out two.
“We made the decision to make the change early,” Ryman said. “I thought Mandy had done some good things, but our walk numbers were up and Houston was putting the ball in play.
“Tanner came in and showed a lot of grit and determination to come back out and go right back at them and attack. It is hard on Sunday to pitch against a team that has already seen you twice. She pitched a full seven innings and almost threw a full game again. It is tough for a pitcher to stay sharp in that situation.”
Shortstop Khayla Green was sidelined for the day. Williams moved from second base to shortstop. Elmore shifted from center field to second base. Brewer moved from left field to center. Dee Baddley made her first start of the season in left field.
“All of them were familiar with their positions having played them before,” Ryman said. “I thought they all did a great job making the adjustments having not been in those positions in a while. We did a really nice job defensively behind Tanner.”
- The Lady Bisons are 4-1 in Sunday games this season.
- Higgins has extended her team-leading hitting streak to 11 games.
- Fenichel has eight multi-hit games. She has at least one hit in each of her last eight games.
- Higgins has recorded four multiple-RBI games.
Next up: Lipscomb is on spring break but the Lady Bisons are not slowing down. They are on the road Wednesday night in Bowling Green for a doubleheader with Western Kentucky beginning at 5.
Lipscomb opens the Atlantic Sun portion of the season Saturday and Sunday with USC Upstate. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium. A single game is scheduled Sunday at 1.